Nov 20, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Cardinals 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
David Johnson led all fantasy football scoring with an impressive 35 points in Week 11. Who will lead the way in Week 12?
Fantasy football is not a science. Every week it seems there’s a player or two who nobody saw coming and a couple of lucky homers cash in on.
On the flip side, there are busts every week as well.
Last week Rashad Jennings racked up 23.9 points making himself the fourth ranked running back and landing him in the Top-10 of all scoring.
In stark contrast, both Amari Cooper and Antonio Brown finished outside of the Top-50 as both barely eked out WR2 positioning in their own performances.
Week 12 is make-it-or-break-it week for many fantasy football owners as the playoffs loom in the near future.
Who should turn in big days, and who may underperform? We try to answer those questions now.
Nov 20, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) calls out to his offense as they play against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons – Sunday, November 27th@ 1:00 PM EST
Carson Palmer isn’t what we thought he’d be in 2016 and his 20th place ranking amongst fantasy football quarterbacks is evidence enough of that.
While he certainly hasn’t been carrying your team to victories this year, he’s had his moments.
304-yards and three touchdowns against Tampa Bay for one, and 363-yards with another three scoring tosses against Carolina is another.
Seems the veteran certainly hasn’t forgotten to bring his mojo when he faces the NFC South, and he faces the friendliest passing defense in the division this week as the Cardinals travel to Atlanta.
Another three tosses would be nice, but the trend I’m looking at is the three games it’s been since the Falcons have intercepted any quarterback, and the fact that no starting passer has thrown more than one at any point this year.
Carolina Panthers @ Oakland Raiders – Sunday, November 27th @ 4:25 PM EST
Cam Newton has only eclipsed 300-yards of offense twice this season, and following his 199-yards and one touchdown performance against the New Orleans Saints, his fantasy football stock for 2016 is at an all-time low.
The Oakland Raiders started the year as one of the softer defenses against the pass, but have seen an uptick as of late as they haven’t allowed a 300-yard passer since Week 5.
Adding to Newton’s struggles are the fact he’ll be without Michael Oher who was placed on injured reserve Friday, and Ryan Kalil who will miss this weekend’s game with a shoulder injury.
Nov 20, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (4) drops back to pass against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
A soft offensive line against a defense which has been clicking lately all spell doom for Newton and those who start him.
Tennessee Titans @ Chicago Bears – Sunday, November 27th @ 1:00 PM EST
The maturation of Marcus Mariota has been an interesting one, and it’s seen some good fantasy football production come along with it.
The second-year quarterback hasn’t completed less than 65% of his passes in over a month, and has thrown 11 touchdowns compared to two interceptions in the same span.
The Chicago Bears aren’t the leakiest of passing defenses, but they aren’t exactly a lockdown unit either.
The only quarterback who hasn’t scored against the Bears to this point is Matthew Stafford, and he’s the only guy to throw two interceptions against this unit as well.
There aren’t any teams on a bye, so you probably aren’t looking for a streamer, but if you’re looking to load your DFS with running back or wide receiver studs this guy could get you some solid points for the price.
Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers won 36-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
This undoubtedly means Chicago will need to lean on Jordan Howard and Jeremy Langford early and often against the Tennessee Titans as they try and salvage whatever they can of their injury-riddled season.
Howard’s highest carry total came in Week 8 against the Minnesota Vikings when he carried the rock 26 times for 153-yards and a touchdown.
He and Langford will get plenty of touches in this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Howard eclipse his season high in this one.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Seattle Seahawks – Sunday, November 27th @ 4:05 PM EST
Doug Martin has returned from his hamstring injury and looks to be running as hard as ever.
Great news for the Buccaneers, not so great for opponents looking to keep the suddenly effective Bucs down in their hunt for a playoff spot.
For fantasy owners and DFS players, it’s an intriguing option heading into a Week 12 match-up against the always tough Seattle defense.
Normally, any offensive player would be a sit against this defense as they are known for stopping some of the best the NFL has to offer.
This week isn’t a normal week though. Michael Bennett and Early Thomas have both been ruled out of this contest, and with Seattle already playing on the road, this gives their defense a bit of a vulnerable look to it.
Undoubtedly, Dirk Koetter is going to look at helping Jameis Winston by keeping him on schedule with early runs, and the possibility of Jacquizz Rodgers’ return is extra enticing.
If “Quizz” does come back, I would expect him to be on a limited snap count. Either way though, the Bucs are going to run a lot, and may find more success than most would expect.
Nov 20, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) runs out of bounds after a reception in the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
New York Giants @ Cleveland Browns – Sunday, November 27th @ 1:00 PM EST
If we’re going to start Eli Manning it makes sense we might start one of his receivers, right?
In this case, yes. Odell Beckham Jr. was out-targeted last week by Sterling Shepard, but it was the first time the rookie was targeted more than nine times this year.
Despite seeing a bit of a cut in his targets ODB still had five receptions for 46-yards. The absence of a score hurt his fantasy numbers as he failed to find the endzone for just the second time in six games.
As for the Browns, we’ve already talked about the passing yards they’re allowing. What we didn’t talk about was the large amount of those going to wide receivers.
In Week 11, Antonio Brown brought in eight passes for 76-yards. Again, he didn’t score which helped stifle his fantasy owners, but who thinks the Browns can keep one of the best NFL receivers out of the endzone two weeks in a row?
Philadelphia Eagles vs Green Bay Packers – Sunday, November 27th @ 8:30 PM EST
Jordan Matthews has developed a nice rapport with quarterback Carson Wentz who definitely does better at home than on the road.
Two of Matthews’ scoring connections with his rookie quarterback have come at home, and his best yardage output of the season came at home as well.
This week’s home match-up is against the Green Bay Packers defense which is allowing the fourth most touchdown receptions in the NFL, and is allowing a league high 13.3 yards per catch through Week 11.
The Green Bay struggles haven’t been one-sided, but Matthews and his fantasy owners should certainly benefit from the defensive side of it.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos – Sunday, November 27th @ 8:30 PM EST
Tyreek Hill is a big play waiting to happen which makes fantasy owners salivate every time he touches the ball.
Against the Broncos, in Denver, DFS players would be wise to find another option for their points this week.
Season long players should also look elsewhere, but this of course depends on what your options are at this point.
Sure, Hill could bust out at any moment for an 80-yard touchdown strike, but he could also meander all day in a five catch, 50-yard performance with no touchdowns.
Nov 6, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) lines up during the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Giants won 28-23. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
Don’t spend the valuable cap space on hopes and dreams, look for reliability.
SLEEPER – Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
New York Giants @ Cleveland Browns – Sunday, November 27th @ 1:00 PM EST
If Odell Beckham is too rich for your taste this week, take a look at his younger teammate Sterling Shepard.
Like just about every rookie not named Ezekiel Elliott, Shepard has had up-and-down weeks making him a bit of a nerve racking start every game.
Against Green Bay he caught just two passes for 14-yards, while he went off for 117-yards on eight catches against New Orleans.
While he’s a risk-reward guy every time you put his name on your roster, going up against the Browns means you should get at least an acceptable amount of production from him should you go his way.
Nov 20, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham (88) celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Denver Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib (21) and defensive back Will Parks (34) celebrate a defensive stop during the second quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
START – Denver Broncos D/ST
Denver Broncos vs Kansas City Chiefs – Sunday, November 27th @ 8:30 PM EST
The Denver Broncos are welcoming the return of Aqib Talib and Derek Wolfe just in time to host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night in a game which will be huge in clarifying the AFC Playoff picture.
The two playmakers come back just in time to face off against their division foe who is reeling from a slew of injuries on their own defense.
As a unit, the Broncos defense/special teams group is the third highest scoring group in fantasy football, and have a significant advantage along with playing at home for this primetime performance.
SIT – Arizona Cardinals D/ST
Atlanta Falcons vs Arizona Cardinals – Sunday, November 27th @ 1:00 PM EST
The Atlanta Falcons have one of the best offensive unit’s in the game, and Matt Ryan is third among quarterbacks in fantasy scoring for a reason.
The Cardinals defense has been vulnerable over the past few weeks and haven’t reached 15 points since Week 6.
Going against this high-powered offense isn’t a recipe to fix Arizona’s struggles as of late, and owners of the group should be searching the waiver wires for other options.
SLEEPER – Tennessee Titans D/ST
Tennessee Titans @ Chicago Bears – Sunday, November 27th @ 1:00 PM EST
The Tennessee Titans like to get after the quarterback. Currently sitting third in the NFL with 30 sacks.
Going against the Chicago Bears who look poised to start Matt Barkley at quarterback with Brian Hoyer nursing a broken arm and starter Jay Cutler banged up as usual, this unit could look to tee-off against a wounded team.
The Bears are one of the D/ST friendliest teams in fantasy already allowing an average of 9.2 points per game, but without Cutler and Hoyer it may get ugly.
Look at the late injury reports to see who is under center for Chicago, and if it’s Barkley you may want to consider this group.
Nov 20, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) runs the ball against Chicago Bears linebacker Sam Acho (49) during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
WEEK 12 RECAP
Let’s Recap our selections for this weekends’ match-ups…
Nov 20, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi (23) rushes against the Los Angeles Rams during a NFL football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
QB, Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
QB, Eli Manning, New York Giants
RB, Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
RB, Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins
WR, Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
WR, Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles
TE, Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks
D/ST, Denver Broncos
Nov 17, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) runs the ball in the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers defeated the Saints 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
QB, Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
QB, Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
RB, Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
RB, Christine Michael, Green Bay Packers
WR, Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints
WR, Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
TE, Austin Hooper / Levine Toilolo, Atlanta Falcons
D/ST, Arizona Cardinals
Sep 18, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd (83) breaks off of the line of scrimmage against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 24-16. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews (81) celebrates scoring a touchdown with tight end Zach Ertz (86) in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Playing daily fantasy football games are not as simple as plug and play. It’s a delicate balance of fiscal responsibility and talent management. Here we provide a couple options which should prove affordable and full of possibilities.
The Pewter Projection
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Nov 13, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) against the Chicago Bears at Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers won 36-10. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
So there we have it. Week 12 NFL action has already begun with the full slate of Thanksgiving games happening earlier this week.
I hope all of your weekends were good and filled with family and friends.
Send your questions, comments and individual analysis to our official Twitter feed, to any of our contributors or experts. We can’t get to them all of course, but we’ll get to as many as we can each week.
Which of our starters will hit pay-dirt for your fantasy football team, which of our sits will bust through the doubt and put up top numbers anyway, and which of our sleepers will give a burst to your daily fantasy lineups? Come back next week to see our recap and get your Week 13 insight and advice!